Hello, Gardeners! Winter is here. Seed catalogs started coming almost daily in late January. We are thinking Spring! I have several amaryllis blooming indoors and several more are waiting their turn. But that's not the focus of this musing.
Many times over the years, I have come across the expression, THINK SPRING. That is a great idea, but why not make Spring happen starting in February? As I write this, our first hyacinths are blooming. The color is hard to describe. It isn't red and it isn't blue; it's a combination somewhere in between. I tend to favor the blues, but this year my goal is to have as many different colors as I can. My usual behavior is to plant a couple dozen, but this year I have many, many more.
I start my hyacinths in pots as soon as I can buy the bulbs at a reduced price. Most of the time, I can find them 50 or 75 percent off the retail price. This year, I went all out! I have 50 or more hyacinths in all stages of growth and more than 100 tulips getting ready to display their flowers. Note: Most of the time, I keep the potted bulbs in the garage where it is just above freezing. When I see green, I will start moving them to warmer places, inviting them to bloom.
Taking care of your bulbs through the winter will result in beautiful blooms, like those shown above, in the spring.
Next on my spring bulb agenda are the crocuses I have planted which are already sticking out of their pots at least two inches. Remember early spring in the garden; snow on the ground and crocuses blooming. So that tells you that you can keep your crocuses in a very cold spot in the house or garage. Crocuses and snow drops, planted outside, tell us that Spring is, indeed, just around the corner.
We haven't talked yet about the differences between daffodils and narcissus, and then there are jonquils. Clyde Phillip Wachsberger and Theodore James, Jr., in their book entitled Daffodil, clarify the difference. "All these names are correct, but Narcissus, the Latin version of the original Greek name, is the official botanical name for all members of this genus of flowering bulbs. 'Daffodil' is the common name and is the term recommended by the American Daffodil Society (p. 13)." The choices are many. Singles, doubles and miniatures, all in many colors ranging from the most common color, yellow, and shades of yellow, to pink, peach, rose-tinted, lime green, bright orange, and red. Today, there are more than 25,000 named cultivars of daffodils, all of which make superb cut flowers.
My wife's favorite spring bulb is the hyacinth which has a fragrance she likes, but she has also taken a liking to double daffodils. So, of course, I bought as many different doubles as I could. By the middle of January, all the bulbs were in their pots, which means, from now until April the house will be announcing spring in almost every room!
Have I stirred your interest in planting some spring bulbs in containers come fall? If so, all you need are bulbs, containers and soil. Clay or plastic pots work well; but be creative with your containers, choose something you wouldn't normally think of as a pot, just make sure it can drain. If this is your first time, I suggest you buy a bag of potting mix. Place the mix in the bottom of the containers and position the bulbs so that the tops stick up above the soil line. Add water and watch them grow. You do not need fertilizer because the bulbs contain all of the nutrients they need to grow and bloom. It's easy and it's fun! Make pring happen in the middle of winter next year, you won't be disappointed.